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    GEORGIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH WANTS CIS CLERGY TO GO ON PEACEKEEPING MISSION

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    MOSCOW, MARCH 2, 2004, RIA NOVOSTI - Elijah II, Catholicos-Patriarch of the Apostolic Church of Georgia, has come out with a proposal to form peacekeeping groups out of CIS clergymen.

    The Apostolic Church of Georgia would like the CIS clergy to assume peacekeeper responsibilities and to secure for themselves the right of unhindered movement across conflict zones, Elijah II said Tuesday at the Second CIS Interfaith Peacekeeping Forum, currently underway in Moscow.

    As the prelate sees it, only clergymen representing the conflicting sides should be on such peacekeeper groups, with no third side involved. "Religious peacekeepers' mission should be not that of soldiers trying to pull the warring sides apart, but rather one of rapprochement, reunification and reconciliation. Their weapon should be love for one's neighbor, love for humanity, and mutual forgiveness, Elijah II said.

    Georgia, as well as the Caucasus at large, cannot live in a neither war nor peace state any more, he remarked.

    "I believe that vis-a-vis Georgia, Russia as a great power must take active steps on matters of territorial integrity. This will pave the way for the restoration of mutual trust between our countries," pointed out the Patriarch-Catholicos of the Apostolic Church of Georgia.

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